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Kia Unveils Soul EV, Optima Hybrid

February 06, 2014

Photo courtesy of Kia.
Photo courtesy of Kia.

Kia Motors showed off its first mass market electric vehicle (EV), the Soul EV, as well as the 2014 Optima Hybrid mid-size sedan and Niro Concept, at the Chicago Auto Show.

Scheduled to go on sale in the third quarter of 2014, the Soul EV will be Kia's first all-electric, zero-emissions car sold in the U.S. and expands the brand’s line of alternative-fuel vehicles. The Soul EV was joined by Optima Hybrid as well as the hybrid Niro, an urban lifestyle concept vehicle. The Soul EV utilizes a 360 volt 96-cell lithium-ion polymer battery, which is expected to yield a range of 80-100 miles of real-world driving on a full charge.

The Optima Hybird comes with a 47 HP electric traction motor, a Hybrid Starter Generator, and a 47 kW lithium polymer battery, and yields a combined gas-electric 199 hp rating and combined 235 lb.-ft. of torque. The LX model achieves an EPA-estimated 36 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and 38 mpg combined, while the EX model delivers an EPA-estimated 35/39/37.

The Nero Concept was built with a variant of Kia’s turbocharged 1.6-liter Gamma engine, capable of 160 hp. The engine and a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission serve the front wheels while an electric hybrid system powered by regenerative braking to deliver up to 45 hp to the rear wheels.

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